Photo: UNRWA

UNRWA and UNICC Partnership Strengthens Common Objectives

UNRWA Consultants Grow in Number from 8 in 2020 to 50 Expert Resources Now

In June 2020, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) signed an agreement that aims to enhance opportunities for Palestine refugees in Gaza. With this agreement, UNRWA provided ICT and other skilled support staff to UNICC, allowing UNICC to leverage UNRWA’s cost-efficient resource model and, just as importantly, support UNRWA’s mission to deliver services to over 5 million refugees in the Middle East. With this agreement, UNICC has been able to benefit from the UNRWA expert resources from web development, cloud computing and communications to data science, project management and cyber security, as follows:

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Credit: UNRWA

We are excited to partner with UNRWA since it has given us the opportunity to find very talented young individuals to join various teams across UNICC. These new colleagues are very ably supporting various teams across all of UNICC, and we in return have the privilege of seeing them thrive and grow into their roles. These Gazan colleagues get to work across the UN system through UNICC and we, as an organization, get to do our bit to directly contribute to the UN SDGs.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

The Palestinian territories suffer from limited job creation with stubbornly high unemployment rates, hitting particularly youth and women. UNRWA’s partnership with UNICC is providing a chance for Palestine refugee youth as well as women of all ages, and it is contributing to UNRWA efforts to seed, grow and nurture talented resources among the refugee community.

UNRWA, as a UNICC Partner Organization, already subscribes to UNICC’s ICT services. This ICT services support partnership agreement brings closer collaboration between the two organizations, with ICT skills development and delivery being the new bridge for partnership. Now skilled and professional Palestinian ICT personnel at UNRWA can share their skills within the wider UN digital transformation efforts.

I believe that this is a great partnership providing livelihood opportunities in Gaza in the IT domain. This partnership allowed many young Gazans to pursue their career of choice while supporting their families. This is also a unique partnership where it shows how IT organisations evolve from being support organisations to those that directly contribute to Sustainable Development Goals.

Kaan Cetinturk, UNRWA CIO and Director of Information Management and Technology Department

From 1 June 2020 until 30 September 2021, almost a hundred skilled Palestinian professionals have had the opportunity to join UNICC in supporting the UN system. The journey started with eight people being on board and hard at work on interesting projects for UNICC Clients, with over 50 professionals working today with UNICC. 42% are female and 58% are male, also supporting the UN’s gender parity aims.

This allows UNICC to advance its own agenda on bringing more youth and women into the fold. Hani Cordiya, Head of the Information Technology Service Centre at UNRWA headquarters in Gaza, helped to forge this partnership, reporting to UNICC team leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, New York, USA and Brindisi, Italy.

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Credit: UNRWA

Collaborating with UNICC teams gives you the confidence to improve your skills and accomplish your goals. It also gives you a reason to challenge yourself and the obstacles that faced you, especially when you deliver work on time and see the Client satisfaction, with their confidence that their projects are in the right place. I am sure that becoming a member of the UNICC family was a most worthy decision.

Mai Ibaid, UI/UX Frontend Designer, UNICC
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Credit: UNRWA

Through this joint project, young, female and skilled Palestine refugees are able to contribute to the digital transformation of the UN in the digital business domain without the restrictions of geographic borders and strengthening UNICC’s capacity to deliver reliable ICT services driven by best practices.

This partnership has helped the Application Delivery team to make great strides in project start-up timelines, meeting implementation and completion deadlines, with cost-efficient and knowledgeable experts to round out our very busy App Dev team.

Venkat Venkateswaran, Head, Application Development Unit, UNICC

This partnership reflects UNICC’s substantive actions to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in the areas of SDG 1 for no poverty, SDG 5 for gender equality, SDG 8 for decent work and economic growth and SDG 17 for partnerships to achieve the SDGs.

Photo: UiPath/Arjun Iyer

Sameer Chauhan Speaks About Automation and the SDGs at the UiPath Conference

RPA can help the UN save millions on duplicate and manual processes and drive substantive delivery

On October 15, on stage with UiPath’s founder and CEO Daniel Dines, UNICC’s Director Sameer Chauhan spoke to a packed audience at UiPath’s Forward III event in Las Vegas. He engaged the audience on how automation can support digital shared services across the UN family and help accelerate the SDGs.

Sameer attended the two-day conference with Anish Sethi, UNICC’s Chief of Clients and Projects. Anish has been instrumental in setting up a first-class RPA program along with the UN Digital Solutions Center with a number of strategic partners, including major RPA vendor UiPath.

The response was overwhelming, with many private sector groups expressing their interest to help the UN family wherever they could. They offered resources for given projects and expertise in how to develop a Centre of Excellence, widening the web of partnerships between the private and public sector that will make a difference in meeting the SGDs. Indeed, SDGs Goal 17 is all about such partnerships.

The studies we conducted internally in the UN showed us that even if 10% of all of the manual processes we have in our back office are automated or digitized that could potentially save us up to a billion dollars that can then be used to deliver to the substantive missions. So that’s a billion dollars more that can go towards educating kids, taking care of medical disasters, hurricanes and refugees. It becomes a game-changer for us.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

Daniel Dines, CEO, UiPath, with Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC. Photo: UiPath/Arjun Iyer

In a session driven by UiPath’s founder and CEO Daniel Dines, Sameer had the opportunity to share the mission and mandates of the UN family. He also discussed UNICC’s RPA service and mandate to offer shared digital solutions for UN Agencies. He emphasized the benefits including maximised ROI and economies of scale as well as its domain expertise in understanding its UN partner.

Sameer went on to explain that with an expected rapid adoption of automation in the coming years, the UN could free up to a billion dollars from operational efficiencies that can be reallocated to mission delivery to address key challenges, from educating kids to taking care of refugees.

The goal of the service is to help the UN family reduce duplication of common processes and minimize time spent on manual processes. Together with its strategic partners, UNICC provides a one-stop-shop to facilitate fast adoption of the latest digital technology.

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a key enabler of Digital Transformation across the UN family. It allows automating repetitive manual processes and can save the UN millions of dollars crucial to accelerating the SDGs and creating tangible global social impact.

Automation is also one of the key services that will be delivered by the UN Digital Services Center (UN DSC), an innovation hub recently established by WPF, UNHCR and UNICC. It will design, build, and deploy at scale a suite of digital services that will be available to all UN agencies. The UN DSC includes a Robotic Operations Centre (ROC) and the first automation pilot project is already up and running.